More than 6,000 Myanmarese children, who have taken refuge in Mizoram along with their parents following a military coup in the neighbouring country last year, have been enrolled in various schools across the state, an official said.
There is no concrete law prohibiting the Myanmarese children from enrolling in Mizoram schools but they could not be officially treated as ‘refugee students’ as the Centre did grant refugee status to them, H Lalthlangliana, school education department director, said.
According to the official statement, of the 6,195 such children, 5,221 were enrolled in government schools, 184 in government-aided institutes and 790 in private schools,.
Lalthlangliana said that Myanmar children do not face any language barrier as most of them belong to the Chin community. They share the same ancestry and culture as the Mizos of Mizoram and also speak the Mizo language. In some cases, parents hired teachers for their children, the official said.
Lalthlangliana also said that 68 children of Myanmarese nationals have enrolled for grade 10 board examinations under the Mizoram Board of School Education during the 2021-22 academic session. Of them, 31 appeared in the examinations and all except three cleared the exam.
Recently, Mizoram University (MZU) and the Institute of Chin Affairs (ICA), a non-profit organisation, announced introduction of a diploma course in Burmese language and communication skills at the varsity. Burmese is the official language of Myanmar and is spoken by around two-thirds of the population there.
The course will be offered by MZU jointly with International Development Research Centre (IDRC) from next month, Lalnilawma, head of extension education and rural development department of MZU said. “This course is recommended for students who wish to study Myanmar’s complex, multi-layered society, and work with local and international agencies in Myanmar,” ICA and Mizoram University said in a joint statement. The course will initially be run for a period of 10 months (Semester I and II) beginning October.
As per official records, more than 30, 000 Myanmar refugees have taken shelter in different parts of Mizoram since the military coup in February last year. The majority of them are living in relief camps, some in rented houses on their own while others are staying with their local relatives.
The government, in collaboration with village authorities and NGOs, have set up more than 150 relief camps across the state for them. Mizoram shares a 510 km long international border with Myanmar.
With inputs from PTI